The Chinese market has dominated the Maldivian tourism sector for years on end, remaining the top market for tourism for four consecutive years pre-pandemic. As the world pushes forward in a new normal post-pandemic and international borders open, China is planning to resume direct flights to the Maldives in October.
Speaking on state media channel PSM’s ‘Seventy-Five Zero’ program, Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives, H.E. Wang Lixian stated that Chinese tourists are looking forward to visiting the Maldives. She noted that the Maldives is a popular tourist destination among the Chinese, especially the youth.
“With the improving Covid-19 pandemic situation, it is believed that the number of tourist arrivals from China to the Maldives will increase significantly step by step,” Ambassador Wang said during the televised program.
China remains the greatest source market for Maldives tourism sector, with 324,326 tourist visits in 2016, 306,530 tourist visits in 2017, 283,116 tourist visits in 2018, 284,029 tourist visits in 2019. It is projected that Maldives tourism will see a 2.4% boost once China resumes direct flights to the Maldives.
China and Maldives have also signed a visa exemption agreement, which would greatly increase the number of tourist visits from China to the Maldives. Ambassador Wang noted that the tourist and visitors moving between the two countries would rise significantly in the coming months.
Ambassador Wang also noted that China and Maldives are planning and will carry out several celebratory events this year to mark the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Forge ahead in the new era, warmly welcome the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, China has undergone earthshaking changes and made remarkable achievements in various fields and in all aspects. The past decade has been a decade of historic improvement and reforms in China’s economic and social development, as well as a decade of historic leaps in China’s relations with the world and historic contributions to the international community.
Over the past decade, under the guidance of Xi Jinping’s Economic Thought, China comprehensively pursued the new concept of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, achieving significantly results in promoting high-quality development and creating a new development paradigm. China is accelerating the speed of achieving higher quality, more efficient, fairer, more sustainable and safer development. China’s economic capacity, scientific and technological capacity, comprehensive national strength and international influence increased continuously. The total economic volume of China rose from 53.9 trillion yuan in 2012 to 114.4 trillion yuan in 2021, which took the share of the world economy from 11.3% to over 18%, and China’s per capita GDP rose from US$6,300 to over US$12,000.
Over the past decade, China has made great efforts to develop its manufacturing industry in the direction of making it more progressive, high-quality and bigger, the comprehensive capacity and international influence of the manufacturing industry have been greatly enhanced, and the security and stability of the industrial supply chain has been reinforced. China stands in the first place in the world in the production of more than 40% of 500 major industrial products.
Over the past decade, China embarked on a path of development based on well-trained professionals and strong sci-tech capacity towards the stronger industry, stronger economy and stronger country. In the Global Innovation Index ranking, China rose from the 34th in 2012 to the 12th in 2021. China has speeded up the research on core technology of such as 5G, basic software, new energy vehicles, smart cars and renewable energy. China’s position and role in the global innovation landscape has changed a lot and become an important player in international innovation frontier and an important contributor to joint solutions to global issues.
Over the past decade, upholding people-centered development thought, China won the fight against extreme poverty, historically eliminating absolute poverty in the country and lifting 98.99 million rural poor out of poverty.
Over the past decade, with a deeper understanding of its path to democracy and the political system, China has developed whole-process people’s democracy as a key concept and striven to translate the relevant democratic values into effective institutions and concrete actions. Whole-process people’s democracy integrates process-oriented democracy with results-oriented democracy, procedural democracy with substantive democracy, direct democracy with indirect democracy, and people’s democracy with the will of the state. It is a model of socialist democracy that covers all aspects of the democratic process and all sectors of society. It is a true democracy that works.
Over the past decade, China’s overall law-based governance has been deepened and promoted, forming the Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law as its guidance. With persistent efforts, social governance became smarter, more law-based, and more professional with more public participation, constantly enhancing the people’s sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security. The sense of security of the Chinese people has increased from 87.55% in 2012 to 98.62% in 2021, and the international community generally considers China to be one of the safest countries in the world.
Over the past decade, China has made significant and historical achievements in employment and social security. With an annual average increase by more than 13 million job opportunities in urban areas, China has achieved sufficient employment in a big nation with a large population over 1.4 billion.
Over the past decade, China has made tremendous progress in medical and healthcare. The life expectancy of the Chinese people has increased to 78.2 years old, which is a historic surge. The main health index ranks in the first place among upper middle-income countries, and the Chinese people’s health rights are well guaranteed.
Over the past decade, China has made historic progress in popularization of universal education. There are nearly 530,000 schools of various kinds at all levels, enrolled with over 290 million students. The average period of education for the working-age population has reached 10.9 years.
Over the past decade, China constructed the largest number of affordable housing unit projects in the history, with a total investment of 14.8 trillion yuan and as a result, more than 140 million people realized their dream of living in their own apartments.
Over the past decade, China pushed forward the reform of the ecological civilization system, which has strongly contributed to the modernization with the characteristic of the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. The protection of farmland has made notable progress, holding firm the red line of farmland. China has made a solemn commitment to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and realize carbon neutrality by 2060, and set up a “1+N” policy framework for carbon peak and carbon neutrality.
Over the past decade, China’s diplomatic work, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, has overcome difficulties and forged ahead, undergoing a series of risks and tests, overcoming many hardships and obstacles, making all-round and groundbreaking historic achievements, and embarking on a new path of major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.
China has followed a path of peaceful development to build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind and form a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation. China has sticked to its role as a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order.
China has made great efforts in advancing China’s diplomatic agenda in a comprehensive, multilevel and multifaceted way, keeping dialogues, exchanges and cooperation with countries around the world. With the total number of countries with diplomatic relations increased to 181 and partnerships established with more than 110 regional organizations, China’s circle of friends has been expanded continuously and the partnership network has covered the planet.
China has actively participated in global governance reform. Committed to the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, China has practiced true multilateralism, pursued the shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, supporting the global fight against pandemic, tackling climate change, promoting sustainable development, and providing Chinese solutions and contributing to crack the global governance deficit and solve global challenges.
China has firmly defended national interests and national dignity, taken a clear stand on major issues, fought every inch of the way with determination, and effectively safeguarded national sovereignty, security and development interests.
With the strong leadership of the CPC, concerted efforts of the 1.4 billion people, the notable strengths of socialism with Chinese characteristics, a solid foundation underpinning sustained rapid development, and strong confidence in achieving development through its own efforts, China will enjoy sustained and sound development, usher in even brighter prospects, and make more splendid miracles come true.
The Communist Party of China will convene its 20th National Congress on 16th October. It will be an important meeting to be held at a critical time as China embarks on a new journey toward its second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects. At this national congress, the Communist Party of China will fully review the major achievements made and valuable experience gained in China’s reform and development endeavors. It will also formulate programs of action and overarching policies to meet China’s new development goals on the journey ahead in the new era and the new expectations of the people. We will continue to follow the Chinese path to modernization to achieve the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and we will continue to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. By doing so, we will create new opportunities for the world with new advances in China’s development and contribute our vision and strength to world peace and development and human progress.
Remarks on Celebrating the 73rd Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China & the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Diplomatic Relations between China and Maldives
This year marks the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Over the past 73 years, earthshaking changes have taken place in China.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has coordinated the overall strategy of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation and the great change that has not happened in a century, have solved many tough problems that were long on the agenda but remained unsolved, accomplished many things of vital importance and long-term significance, and withstood the test of various risks and challenges at home and abroad. The Path of China’s development becomes wider and wider, the Governance of China becomes more and more mature, and the Theory of China becomes more and more prevailing. The Chinese people have successfully built a moderately prosperous society in all respects and fulfilled the first centenary goal. We are embarking on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist country, march toward the second centenary goal, and advance toward the grand goal of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
This year is of great historical significance in the development of the CPC and China, as the 20th CPC National Congress will be convened on 16th of October. This Congress will, in response to the expectation of all the Chinese people, set well-conceived goals and tasks for China’s development in the next five years and beyond, and it will draw an overarching plan for China’s future development. Having reached a new historical starting point, China will follow the Chinese path to modernization to achieve the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. China will work with other countries to make every effort for peace and development, shoulder the responsibility for solidarity and progress, build a community with a shared future for mankind, and embrace an even better world.
At present, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept resurfacing. Global security faces uncertainty. Global economic recovery is fragile and unsteady, and various risks and crises are emerging. The world has entered a new phase of turbulence and transformation. Changes unseen in a century are accelerating. At the same time, the world continues to move toward multi-polarity; economic globalization is deepening, and our societies are becoming increasingly digitized and culturally diversified. Indeed, countries are becoming ever more interconnected and interdependent. Peace and development remain the underlying trend of our times. Around the world, the people’s call for progress and cooperation is getting louder than ever before.
In response to the common aspiration of the international community for peace and development, and make up the global governance deficit, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. Putting the people at the center, this initiative is a rallying call to refocus attention of the international community on development and build a global community of development. At the recent High-level Dialogue on Global Development he chaired, President Xi Jinping announced several dozen concrete major steps to implement this initiative, generating strong impetus for accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Security Initiative at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022. He called on the international community to pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, to take the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously, to peacefully resolve disputes through dialogue and consultation, and to maintain security in both traditional and non-traditional domains. By putting forward this initiative, he has contributed China’s vision to reducing the peace deficit facing humanity and provided China’s input to meeting global security challenges.
As China has one-fifth of the global population, its march toward modernization has important, far-reaching significance for the world. The path that China pursues is one of peace and development, not one of plunder and colonialism; it is a path of win-win cooperation, not one of zero-sum game; and it is one of harmony between man and Nature, not one of destructive exploitation of resources. We will continue to contribute our input to meeting the challenges facing human development, and make our contribution to creating a new form of human advancement.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Maldives. Over the past half a century, China-Maldives relations have withstood the test of international vicissitudes and become more mature and stable. China and the Maldives have been upholding the spirit of friendship and neighborliness, treating each other as equals, conducting cooperation for development, supporting each other with mutual assistance and tiding over difficulties together. China highly appreciates the Maldives’ long-standing understanding and support for China’s just claims on issues concerning China’s core interests and major concerns, and China also supports the Maldives in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence and national dignity, and will continue to uphold justice for the Maldives at the international arena. The Maldivian government has a longstanding and firm commitment to the one-China principle. The China-Maldives relations have become a model of friendly exchanges, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation between countries with different systems and cultures in international arena.
In recent years, under the strategic guidance of the leaders of the two countries, China-Maldives relations have maintained a good momentum of steady development. In September 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a historic state visit to Maldives and the two sides agreed to establish future-oriented all-round friendly and cooperative partnership, lifting the China-Maldives relations to a new level. In July 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping had a phone call with Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih and reached important consensus on deepening and expanding exchanges and cooperation in various fields between the two countries, setting the direction for the future development of the bilateral relations. In January 2022, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a successful visit to Maldives with fruitful outcomes, opening a new chapter in China-Maldives relations. Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid visited China twice over the past year, which enhanced the mutual trust and friendship between the leaders of the two countries, and laid a sound foundation for the future development of bilateral relations.
As an all-round friendly and cooperative partner, China has been always strongly supporting the Maldives to speed up economic and social development and improve self-development capability. Recent years have witnessed fruitful results on jointly building the “Belt and Road” by China and Maldives. The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge is a landmark project of the “Belt and Road” Initiative. Since it opens to traffic 4 year ago, the bridge has witnessed over 100 million crossings by the local people and has dramatically promoted the sustainable development of Maldivian economy and society. As foreign minister Abdulla Shahid said the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge built with China’s assistance had brought enormous changes to the country and greatly accelerated the economic development process of the Maldives and befitted the Maldivian people. So far Chinese companies has completed more than 11,000 social housing units, which have contributed a lot in the improvement of living conditions of thousands and thousands of Maldivian families. Power generation and power grid connection built by Chinese companies meet 80% of all electricity demand of the residents and enterprises in the Greater Malé. Expansion and Upgrading of Velana International Airport Project will further promote the development of Maldivian tourism. The great contributions made by the Chinese side to the development of Maldivian economy and society will further enhance the solid friendship between the two peoples.
Looking into the future on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties, the two countries should continue with the past and open up the future, promote all-round cooperation to a new high and write a new chapter for the friendly and mutually-beneficial cooperation with a more far-reaching eyesight and broader vision. In this regard, I would like to put forward the following 4 suggestions.
Firstly, both sides should blueprint and steer the future development of China-Maldives relations under the guidance of the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries.
Secondly, both sides should adhere to the valuable experience to ensure the steady and smooth development of the bilateral relations. Both sides should continue to respect each other, treat each other as equals, help each other with sincerity as well as support each other on the issues of our respective core interests and major concerns. China will continue to support Maldives in safeguarding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity and in pursuing an independent foreign policy. We believe that the Maldivian government will uphold its longstanding commitment to the one-China principle and firmly support China to defend its core interests.
Thirdly, both sides should deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in full scale so as to benefit the people of the two countries. In this regard, both sides should continue to push forward Belt & Road cooperation with high quality, speed up major projects and tourist cooperation. I hope the Maldivian side could finish ratification of China-Maldives FTA as early as possible in order to boost the post Covid-19 recovery of the Maldivian economy. We should explore new areas of cooperation in telecommunication, big data and marine economy. We need coordinate closely in international affairs to safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law.
Finally, both sides should expand the people-to-people and cultural exchanges. We welcome more and more Maldivian youngsters to further their study in China. A Chinese language center based in Villa College has been set up now, which will further facilitate the Maldivians especially youngsters to learn Chinese language and culture. The visa exemption agreement of the two countries has come to effect. We believe that as the Covid-19 pandemic situation eases and the direct flights resume in the future, the people-to-people exchanges between the two countries will increase, which will further promote the traditional friendship of the two countries.
History has proved and will always prove that maintaining good-neighborly friendly relations with mutual benefit and win-win cooperation between China and the Maldives accords with the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, and benefits the peace and development of the region and beyond as well. We believe that with the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic ties as a new starting point, China and the Maldives will enhance mutual trust, expand cooperation and deepen friendship, jointly embark on a new journey of China-Maldives relations and promote the future-oriented all-round friendly and cooperative partnership between China and Maldives to a new level.
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish China enjoy prosperity and its people wellbeing and wish China-Maldives relations flourish in the future.
Chinese economy reshaped by decade of phenomenal development
China’s economic landscape has been reshaped over the past decade. From higher incomes to carbon-conscious policies to wider opening-up, phenomenal progress has been achieved in the country.
China’s gross domestic product (GDP) crossed the 100-trillion-yuan (about 14.33 trillion U.S. dollars) threshold in 2020, a new milestone for the world’s second largest economy. The figure further expanded to over 114 trillion yuan in 2021, contributing over 30 percent to world economic growth.
Back in 2012, its GDP stood at around 53.86 trillion yuan, accounting for about 11.5 percent of the global total.
Sustained economic expansion has brought about encouraging improvements at home: people have more money in hand, and growth has been guided toward a path that features green development and high-level opening-up.
BETTER LIFE FOR PEOPLE
China had made historic advances in people’s quality of life over the past decade, with visible changes seen in various aspects.
In 2021, China declared the elimination of absolute poverty, having lifted nearly 100 million rural poor out of poverty over the previous eight years.
Supported by rapid growth, Chinese people have become more affluent. Official data showed that per capita disposable income in the country hit 35,128 yuan in 2021, more than double the level in 2012.
Higher incomes have shored up the rise of the middle-income group, with China now boasting over 400 million middle-income earners, compared with the 2010 level of over 100 million.
People’s health has been made a policy priority. Over the past decade, the world’s most populous country has continued to press ahead with medical and healthcare system reform, seeking to provide affordable and quality medical services for the public.
So far, China has managed several instances of centralized bulk-buying of drugs and high-value medical consumables, helping people slash a total of 300 billion yuan off their medical bills.
PURSUIT OF SUSTAINABILITY
In 2020, China announced that it will peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, a move that has won wide recognition in the international community.
Domestically, across-the-board improvements in the environment, as reflected in major air and water quality indicators, mirrored its consistent efforts to decarbonize the economy, tackle pollution and protect the natural ecosystem.
The low-carbon shift requires a higher share of renewables in energy structure. During the past 10 years, China has phased out coal used for heating in over 27 million rural households, while stepping up the development of installed renewable energy capacity. The country is top globally in its installed capacities of wind, photovoltaic, hydro and biomass power.
Aimed at spurring carbon-cutting endeavors, China launched a national carbon-trading market in July 2021, the world’s largest in terms of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions covered.
Institutional innovation has also been achieved to protect and treasure the ecosystem. After introducing ecological “red lines” in 2017, China completed drawing up ecological conservation lines nationwide last year, demarcating no less than 25 percent of its land area for protection.
Thanks to its green drive, China has cut its carbon emission intensity by 34.4 percent over the past 10 years. Green has become a prominent color in economic and social development.
Uncertain and volatile as the world has been over the past decade, China has remained committed to pursuing high-level opening-up, building itself into a land of opportunity, while engaging more deeply in the global economy.
China’s trade in goods and services totaled 6.9 trillion U.S. dollars in 2021, expanding from 4.4 trillion U.S. dollars in 2012 and securing the top position globally for two consecutive years.
Also expanding is its “friend circle.” While cementing economic ties with traditional trading partners, the country has actively explored emerging markets in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Africa and beyond.
As a popular destination for foreign investment, China has held its appeal over the past decade with faster institutional opening-up at home.
The country’s negative list for foreign investment has been shortened for five consecutive years since 2017, and laws and regulations, including the Foreign Investment Law, were put into force to step up protection for foreign investors.
Even in the pandemic-battered year of 2021, foreign direct investment in the Chinese mainland, in actual use, surpassed 1 trillion yuan for the first time. It marked the country’s first double-digit growth in nearly a decade.
On top of that, China has also been active in setting up platforms to facilitate trade. Despite disruptions caused by the pandemic, multiple expos have been hosted, including the China International Import Expo, the China International Fair for Trade in Services, and the China International Consumer Products Expo.
Building on these hard-won achievements over the past decade, the country has set goals for the new development stage, and is poised to pen new stories of economic success.
China will strive to make new strides in economic development, with measures to take new steps in reform and opening-up, achieve new progress in building an ecological civilization, and boost the wellbeing of people, among others, according to the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025).
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